Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Death of John Stott

John Stott

John Stott was a British evangelical, he was totally different from the typical Bible thumping Jerry Fallwell. He never condemned anyone for their views or their life style. He was soft spoken and had a reasoning demeanor. I read two of his books, early in my Christian walk. One of them was on the sermon on the mount. I think it was called Christian Counter culture. The other was about Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I must say the latter book held me back from receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, by teaching--wrongly I feel--that it is not a second separate experience from being born again. I don't hold that against him and aside from that, his Sermon on the mount book was a really fine and thoughtful exposition.

Here's what Nicholas D. Kristof said said as a tribute to Stott
in New York Times Sunday Review, July 30, 2011

Partly because of such self-righteousness, the entire evangelical movement often has been pilloried among progressives as reactionary, myopic, anti-intellectual and, if anything, immoral.

Yet that casual dismissal is profoundly unfair of the movement as a whole. It reflects a kind of reverse intolerance, sometimes a reverse bigotry, directed at tens of millions of people who have actually become increasingly engaged in issues of global poverty and justice.

This compassionate strain of evangelicalism was powerfully shaped by the Rev. John Stott, a gentle British scholar who had far more impact on Christianity than media stars like Mr. Robertson or Mr. Falwell. Mr. Stott, who died a few days ago at the age of 90, was named one of the globe’s 100 most influential people by Time, and in stature he was sometimes described as the equivalent of the pope among the world’s evangelicals.

Mr. Stott didn’t preach fire and brimstone on a Christian television network. He was a humble scholar whose 50-odd books counseled Christians to emulate the life of Jesus — especially his concern for the poor and oppressed — and confront social ills like racial oppression and environmental pollution.

“Good Samaritans will always be needed to succor those who are assaulted and robbed; yet it would be even better to rid the Jerusalem-Jericho road of brigands,” Mr. Stott wrote in his book “The Cross of Christ.” “Just so Christian philanthropy in terms of relief and aid is necessary, but long-term development is better, and we cannot evade our political responsibility to share in changing the structures that inhibit development. Christians cannot regard with equanimity the injustices that spoil God’s world and demean his creatures.”

Mr. Stott then gave examples of the injustices that Christians should confront: “the traumas of poverty and unemployment,” “the oppression of women,” and in education “the denial of equal opportunity for all.”

For many evangelicals who winced whenever a televangelist made the headlines, Mr. Stott was an intellectual guru and an inspiration. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, who has worked heroically to combat everything from genocide to climate change, told me: “Against the quackery and anti-intellectualism of our movement, Stott made it possible to say you are ‘evangelical’ and not be apologetic.”

The Rev. Jim Wallis, head of a Christian organization called Sojourners that focuses on social justice, added: “John Stott was the very first important evangelical leader to support our work at Sojourners.”

Stott graduated form Cambridge and worked on the premise that faith and intellectual go together. His father was a Harley Street Consultant (a high priced doctor) who wanted his son t be a diplomat (Eternity).

Eternity: Remembering John Stott
Stuart Barton Babbage

John Stott was pre-eminently an evangelist to students around the world and in commentaries he wrote as a gifted expositor of the word of God. It is instructive to compare Billy Graham’s autobiography with Timothy Dudley Smith’s massive biography of John Stott. Billy Graham’s autobiography is graphic and revealing; by contrast John Stott’s biography is reticent and discreet. We learn much about John Stott’s bird watching, nothing about his role as Chaplain to the Queen and the names of individuals, high and low, whom he met and ministered to.
Many of the things Stott said those two books I read stuck with me. Even though I wound up disagreeing with his views on the Holy Spirit, I still feel that he was a very positive and important influence upon my early walk with Christ. He's gone home.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Was Jesus Wrong in his "Olivette discourse"?


Atheists often use the so called "Olivette discourse" As what they must think is a certain proof that Jesus screwed and predicted the end of the world wrongly. The issue is found in all three synoptic Gospels but in Mark it's found in chapter 13: 1=3

1As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"

2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"
Jesus seems to say "this generation will not pass away before this comes to pass," by "this" is included angels coming in glory and the end of the world. So it appears that Jesus got it wrong. There is an answer that I came up with. It's not the only answer, there are others. The Preterits answer for example (which most Christians find untenable). I like my answer best. I came up with it way back around 2002-4 or something and I've used it a lot. It's based upon textual criticism.

My answer says there is an older version than we have in the canonical Gospels. The pre-Mark redaction was circulating in writing as early as AD50 and this is agreed upon by a majority of Scholars* today. Certainly three of the major one's, Koester, Crosson, and Brown all agreed in principle even though they all have different senerioes as to what that original writing was like. So I assume that in the original there were two separate questions.

(1) What will be the sing of Messiah' coming

(2) when the temple be destroyed.

To one Jesus says "this generation will not pass away," to the other he says "you will see the son of man return in the clouds with the angels" to the other. So he has two questions and two answers. It only makes him a fool if he gave as an answer to "when is the end of the world? (messiah returning) as "this generation will not pass away" and when will the temple be destroyed as "when you see the angles coming." If he got it the other way, when is the temple destroyed, before this generation passes away, when is the end? "when you see the angels coming," then he's a prophet. The fact that that's the right is just obvious since the end of world did not accompany the fall of the temple but some of Jesus' generation did live to see it. So that seems to be what did happen and that's that's a good reason to think that's the way the questions and their answers really stack up.

But we can see that Mark reduced or collapsed the two questions into one and Matt preserved them as two with their two answers. but the answers were cross threaded. Let's see how it's worded:

Mark 13:

1As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" 2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"
there we see the collapse into one question. Why? Because this is the question:

v4 (a) when will these things happen?

(b) what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"

this is the same question. It's just saying "when will this happen" and when will it be fulfilled? that's the same thing. What things' (Notice plural two things what are they?) he's been talking about destruction of the temple. what was said in vs 2:

2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

that's just one thing, the stones will not be left, (they are at the temple so they are talking about the destruction of the temple) they get to the mt of Olives and suddenly it's "things" not just one but two. where did they get two things to ask about? Obviously there are two questions in the original version and Mark has collapsed them into one. They began with the temple and suddenly they have the return of Messiah in it and the the end of the world and they are talking about more than one thing. where did they get that? How do I know they are discussing the end? Because the rest of the chapter, Jesus' answer to this question is about the end times, it concludes in verse 25 with this:

24"But in those days, following that distress,
" 'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'[d] 26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
So somehow they go from destruction of the temple to the end of the world and form one question to discussion "things" including the return of the Messiah. Why do that? Why collapse two questions in to one and why one questions bout the end times? Because they Jews believed then and they do now that the Messiah will return at the end when the temple is destroyed. They would not conceive of their faith with out the temple so the end of the temple had to mean the end of the world. So why bother to preserve two questions which are unrelated when you assume they are about the same thing? Of cousre Jesus answer is not reflective of his real words, but may contain the elements of his answers but crosses the answers to the wrong questions because they assume it's one question, about one event with one answer: when the temple is destroyed you will see the angels coming in the clouds with the son of man. one event.

Now Mat just happens to preserve the original two questions, but the redactor while not collapsing the questions cross threads the answers. So the answer to "when will the temple be destroyed" becomes "when the angles come down" and the answer to "when will the end come?" becomes "this generation will not pass away. It should be the other way around. Since the redactor didn't understand that the questions are preserved as separate becuase they are two separate events, he just preserved them by accident and when on assuming that' they about one event.

Let's look at how Mat preserves the questions:

Mat 24:1-3

1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

This is not just one question repeated two different ways as Mark has it. These are two seperate questions, even though the redactors probably never realized it. They are (1) when will this (destorcution of temple) happen? and (2) what is the sign of your comming? But since they understood those two things as one event Mark conflated them. Mat on preserves the distinction by accient. why? because the answer Jesus gives in Mat reflect the notion of one event:

4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,[a]' and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
He goes on for the rest of the chapter talking about the end times. So clearly the redactor the two events as one even though it seems there must have been two seperate qeustions in the begining. Now one might ask do I know it wasn't the other way around? Mat might break them into two when they were one to begin with. But while its' obvious what the motive would be for conflating them but there seems to be no motive I can think of for doing it the other way. This is especially true the the answer Mat gives implies that he though of these two events as one just as everyone else did, it's just by happen stance, (or because the original document did) that he preserves the two (perhaps the original document did because there really were two questions in the beginning). I have shown above direct evidence that Mark was deal with two questions and collapsed them into one: Jesus speaks of one thing, the stones wont be left one another (the context is the temple) but then Mark suddenly sticks in end times stuff and changes it to a purl "these things."

This is textual criticism. This is exactly what the work of lower criticism invovles. The only thing I'm missing that a real textual critic would do would be to look at the various ms of these existing passages and show their differences and ry to relate that the analysis. I no longer have my textual apparatus after moving so many times in the last view years. I don't have the time or Patience to look it up, and I think I have a good argument anyway.

*The phrase on that page that documents my view is this: "Nevertheless, the idea of a pre-Markan passion narrative continues to seem probable to a majority of scholars. One recent study is presented by Gerd Theissen in The Gospels in Context, on which I am dependent for the following observations." (Peter Kirdy). Now some atheist is goign to say "that's just for the Passaion narrative not a whole pre Mark redaction" but with Koester the Passion narrative includes several redactions of books such as Eterton 2, GThomas, and others. It includes much more than just the passion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Wounded Inner Conservative and What He Tells me About the Current Mess


I do have a conservative side. I hate to admit it after having been a Marxist and having published an academic journal about Marcuse and the Frankfurt school. I do have a wounded inner conservative. The meaning of the term "conservative" has been lost in modern politics. Most people think of it as right wing, really something more like a libertarian (which in my political glossary just means "confused"). The true meaning of the term was defined for me by the late Gavin Hambly a historian of some note from Cambridge for whom I was teaching assistant for a year. He said it was the influence of Rudyard Kipling who brought the concept of conservatism into focus. The original idea was a kind of nostalgia, a fond feeling for a time or the way things used to be and the desire to order events in an attempt to bring back that way.

This fits with Webster's second and third definitions of conservatism:

Definition of CONSERVATISM

capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party b : the Conservative party
a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage)
: the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

Although that institutionalizes what Hambly felt was a nostalgic feeling.I would suggest that that definition is flawed. It has the right idea about established order and resisting change but all the lower tax stuff is not really part of conservatism. That's the mark of the modern era, what conservatives have become. The original concept was less about preserving institutions and more about ideals. It was about honor, a revererence for the past, trying to hold on to things that were worth holding on to, but they were intangibles. Both sides have lost thier ideas, that's the problem. conservatives have traded in their penchant for honor and vlues for a tax revolt. Every nation of earth, even the most conservative, the Dutch of the 17th century for example, had some form of welfare policy. Even the puritans in American had some means of looking after those who could not take care of themselves. While liberals have lost thier ability to fight and mistake stuborn refusal for political fighting.

When I think of it from that point of view I am reminded of the politics of my childhood. The time when first began to take note of political issues I was in grammar school, it was the 1964 elections, Johnson vs. Goldwater. My parents being good Democrats and good Texans were totally behind Johnson. They were so staunchly Texan and Church of Christ they voted for Johnson ni place of Kennedy in 1960 elections. They wrote in his name even though he was the VP candidate with Kennedy. Of course they would have voted for a yellow dog before a republican, which is why I have that yellow dog in the upper right side bar. That particular dog looks almost exactly like my old dog "Mutt," (1969-1985).

Yet one feature of politics in that era that is totally absent from today's politics is that there were statesmen on both sides and Republicans and Democrats respected each other. Goldwater (1909-1998) was painted as a nut case by the Johnson campaign but he was actually a fine statesman. He was extreme some ways, but being irrational and ready to bomb the Viet Kong with nuclear weapons was not one of them. Geroge McGovern (07/19/1922--still living), who got the Goldwater treatment form Nixon in the 1972 campaign, the major arch liberal of the era, characatured as the liberal nut case, was a good friend of Goldwater's. You could not find two more diametrically opposed political opponents yet they were good friends. Everett Dirksen
was the minority leader (republican) in the 1960s. I would never vote for him,but even today I feel a sense of reverence just looking him up. He was a statesman. He was the kind of guy would you would not feel bad about leaving in charge in an emergency even though you may not agree with his views.

We don't have that today. Today we have raving lunatics who can't agree on anything. We have a segment of the Republicans who seem bent on playing "rule or ruin." The idea of closing tax loopholes on the rich is off the table and the tea party guys are still not willing to compromise. They know that if the economy goes down the tubes totally Obama will be blamed regardless of his current willingness to compromise. That means they are willing to ruin everything just to score political victory. We know there are equal inflexible Democrats but they are kept in check by Obama to some extent. Obama has given up the tax the rich centerpiece of his campaign several times now and we have yet to get a major concession out of the tea party nucleus of the Republicans. How many old and disabled people have to go without their ability to buy food and pay rent and bills next week to satisfy the tea party need to ruin Obama?

My nostalgia is for a day when politics made sense. There was a time when there were honorable people on both sides. This is what we have to get back to, a time when we are willing to tolerate disagreement. I think it's our selfishness that has put us here. We are not wiling to tolerate the other side becuase we are so desperate to get what we crave (the American dream, or just a secure situation) that everything else must take second place to that. The media panders to the situation becuase that builds viewers or readers. The nature of American politics has imploded, and is feeding off itself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

the whole science preisthood arguemtn with Westverlen

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I am becoming more and more heart sick about the fate of humanity. It really crushes my spirit to see the stupidity of people when they do things like, after goading atheists for about 12 threads (not posts but whole threads) to deal with the specifics of my 8 levels of verification they claim that they "dealt with it." when you look at how they dealt with it you see they have nothing specific at all of any kind. I goad them on the fact that they want say anything specific, even though they have been claiming they beat it, then they do "I just don't care about it." They continue to say 'there's no verification of the Gospels." They wont answer the arguments but they still continue to insist upon the errors that the arguments correct, while claiming not to care. If they don't care why are they still talking about it?

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
how are you going to learn that it's wrong if it's just a matter of your little taste? nothing can make something wrong in a world with no innate morality. you only have the idea of "wrong" becuase society tells you to think it. In a world where no believes in right and wrong (which are metaphysical and are part of belief in God) no one is going to say "this is intrinsically wrong" becasue there can't be an Intrinsic anything in a world of pure naturalism.

Marty Hamerstock
Why not? Why do you need something metaphysical to have moral absolutes? I find that simple logic works well. Why do morals exist and why are they needed? What makes something intrinsically right or wrong? In order to have to attach something metaphysical to it, you would have to believe in a "pure" good or a "pure" evil, which I don't believe exists. There simply is no evidence fo it. Any social and political animal from lions to chimps have something resembling ethics that serve the community at large. This shows to me that morality developed through natural selection just like everything else. You mentioned matters of taste. Evolution programmed the moral "biggies" into our DNA, leaving plenty of "wiggle room" for individual cultures and societies.


One of them says ethics is about brain chemistry. Feeding into the lie that we don't need God for ethics. Then continually blurring the distinction between what we should do and what people do in fact do. Asserting a good all the while being denying the logical basis for supporting why there is a good. Then asking "why does there have to be a big magical man in the sky to say that something is good." Why is something good? because we have brain chemistry that leads us to do certain things a certain way. That's what they think good is. When I see that kind of thinking I just don't want to live in this century anymore.

The heart of Hamerstick's claim is this: Any social and political animal from lions to chimps have something resembling ethics that serve the community at large. This shows to me that morality developed through natural selection just like everything else.

That is a self contradictory claim. No animals have anything like ethics. The fact that he thinks they do merely proves that he doesn't know what ethics is. There is no group of animals that sits around discussing moral decision making. Animaols do not examine their actions.That is moral thinking, not behaviors not lists of rules. The reductionist reduces morality to behavior. All atheists are reductionists in a sense and thus they all reduced ethics to behavior. When you take the moral thinking out of morality it's not moral anymore. Moral thinking is decision making, that means deliberation not a list of rules or instinctive behaviors. Ethics is the academic discussion about moral decision making.

This tendency to reduce everything to the purely physiological and it all on the level of the surface aspects of the natural is symptomatic of the kind of thinking that subsumed the age People are losing the intellectual ability to understand what thinking is. Certainly ethics, morality, God, theology, philosophy, the meaning of life, these are all beyond the grasp of the kids being trained by these modern advocates of surfaceism. With the loss of these old fashioned concepts and the antiquated ways of looking at things (like thinking and reason and learning things in books) comes the loss of all the aspects of humanity that marks us as human.
They just say "I want to be a machine, machines are cool."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nature of Faith is Confussing to Moderity


A lot of people are confused about the nature o faith. Some think these are contradictions. A big soruce of misconception s a popular definition of faith as "believing thing without reasons." Take a comment, one I find typical, from a recent message board encounter:

Originally Posted by Atheist_Devil View Post (carm aug 31 2007
I completely disagree with you. As Dan Barker calls it, faith is the "Great Escape".

So here we see the atheist take on faith still casting it in pejorative terms. The atheists set up their straw man definition of faith in which it is defined as "believing things without a reason. OF this is a totally inadequate definition.

Where do we turn for an understanding of faith? The best place would be the Westminster's Dictionary of Christian Theology, which is the official defining source of theological concepts. Here we see the simplistic bromide "faith is believing things without reasons" just wont do.

Westminster defines faith in a complex way, the article is very long and the definition is long.

The only atual Biblical definition of faith (Heb 11) does not encapsulate all that the Bible says on the subject, but indicates its main features 'the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.'

some translations say "evidence of things not seen. Faith is not a wild abandonment of logic, it is like faithfulness, it is a commitment to an understanding or a realization one takes as truth, and that realization can be gleaned from many sources including revelation, logic, personal experience. All of these things can be good reasons.

Westminster demonstrates the commitment aspect of faith in the sense of faithfulness which is part of the definition it gives for faith.

It is a confident obedient trust in the reality, in the power and love of God known through his acts, and an awaiting of their future consummation. The bible contains a variety of emphasis within this overall view. The noun 'faith' is comparatively rare in the OT where, (eg Hab 2.5) It may indicate faithfulness or loyalty to God rather than a passive reliance. But dependence upon God as distinct from human powers was imortant for Isaiah (7.9, 30.1-5). While the OT so often sees faith concertized as obedient action (Duet 6.1) the note of trust also resounds especially in the psalms.

Not to lose the complexity in a simplistic short hand, but we can encapsulate the OT view of faith as "trust, faithfulness, obedience." We see that is not passage acceptance of truth claims without reasons. The definition says the trust is based upon "The power of God" and that is a reason, it may one atheists don't like but it is a darn good one. If one has experienced the power of God in one's life one need no better reason.

In the Synoptic Gospels those who respond to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom and respond to his salvific powers, are commended for their faith (Mark 2.5, 5.3) Unbelief is a hardness of heart a refusal to accept the immediacy of God's saving power (Mark 6.1).

Atheists have a strong tendency to deny that belief is a choice. They seem to think that it is some conclusion one is compelled to by logic, or maybe by stupidity; although in the context of religious belief they say that faith is antithetical to reason. They are missing the boat, in this definition we see that Jesus expected us to make a commitment, that is the essence of faith (from the last preceding quote). The basic skeptical position is hardness of heart, refusal to accept immediacy of God's saving power.

The dictionary lists tensions with faith. Tension is a favorite concept among theologians. It means the pull exerted between two seemingly contradictory ideas which are both true and yet conflict in some way. Tension is not a real contradiction but often results form either misunderstanding wrong emphasis. Tensions with faith are:

The first on the list is faith vs works, which I will not go into here. The second is faith verses reason. That's the atheists cease upon as a contradiction but they are driven by the wrong understand ing of faith. The Catholics have always recognized that "reason was capable of demonstrating the existence of God." (Ibid) while Protestants tended to down play reason as the product of the fallen human mind. The source of the modern misunderstanding of faith is the result of historical accident. It comes from the skeptical crisis in early modern Europe. This is specifically the 1600s, after the religious wars, when the Protestants and Catholics squared off against each other to decide which was the true way, faith or reason. We need to take note of a couple important thing here:

(1) the Catholics did not say "boo faith we like reason." They said faith and reason are not enemies. Faith and reason work together.

(2) the Prots did not say "reason is no good don't ever reason" they said human understanding can't equal the truth of God, faith is required for salvation so faith is over reason.

(3) The Prots did something else interesting: they turned to empirical proof rather than logic as the exposition of reason. The Catholics like logic because they Aquinas and the logic of their God arguments. the Prots had God arguments too but they preferred their own empirical God arguments such as the design argument.

The Protestants also used a form of Scholasiticm that was more rigorous than the Catholics version (and purposely so, to counter the Catholic intellectual heritage) but this went by the way side when they place all their epistemic eggs in the science basket. As a result seventeenth century Protestantism was instrumental in the rise of modern science. On the Catholic side Descartes made his name writing philosophy which was in direct response to the Church's request that the enter the battle on their side and help defeat the intellectual claims of the protestants. that is what produced the meditations. That whole period is known as "the skeptical crsis of early modern Europe." It was a major problem and created vast social upheaval and led to the rise of modern science as a means of checking reality. A major part of the struggle was over which to accept, tradition and authority or empirical proof. Tradition and authority were the answer of the faith camp. One might be tempted to think that this was the answer of the faith only camp but not so. It was the reason camp (Catholics) who construed tradition and authority extensions of reason. It was the faith only camp (Protestants) who developed empirical experimental methods as an extension of faith. Although a Catholic invented range and domane (Descartes) and a Catholic invented statistical probability. All of these things came out of this era and had some tangential connection to the skeptical crisis.

My dialog partner continues:

When faith is invoked, you've admitted you've lost the rational argument and have retreated into the land of conjecture, speculation and maybe. Believers are not on the same intellectual plane.

This is because he misconstrues faith as "being stupid and beilef without reason." Kierkegaard called faith "irrational" but he did not mean by that blind stupidity crashing around and accepting stupid things. He meant an existential encounter, first hand face to face experience of truth. For him logic was hypothetical, only on the pages of books. He wanted engagement with God!

Faith is a free-for-all. If one faith claim is accepted, any other faith claim can be "true" as well. All it takes is "belief". How egalitarian! Everything is as good as everything else with no standard used to make these world views held to account. Ah, but there is a standard, isn't there. It's called results.

Of course the claim that I "admitted this" is nonsense, I don't' know what I said that made him assume this. But in anyway, he does the point, how can choose between conflicting tenets of faith? I really don't think this is a very tough one, although the answer may allude many people. The answer is bipolar:

two tensions

(1) On the one hand, there is the personal existential aspect of faith.

This is what people are seeing when they give that most annoying of answers: "it's truth for you." This is the kind of relativism that makes fundies cringe. But I have to admit I do my cringing too when I hear it, even though I think I have a handle on it.

This is not saying that truth very from one person to another, although some who use that phrase, I can't help but feel really think that. It means that since we don't understand truth exhaustively the existential commitment is what I recognize immediately as truth, even though ti's really just similitude. This is an aspect of my understanding that is standing in for truth since our understanding of truth is limited. It's personal commitment, that is it my on self defining moment that clarifies for me what I'm willing to faithful to as a sense of ideal and idea.

It's a way of saying "I am willing to keep my commitments, as long as I understand truth this way I will treat this as truth." This is the nature of the case an needs must be, because your understanding of God is pathetic. We can't possibly stack up to the reality of God, it's too overwhelming. Everything we know of God has to be metaphor because we just handle the way God really is. It's beyond words and thus beyond anything we know.

(2) the use of logic.

On the other hand, at the other end of the pole is the use of logic to understand. We can sort our competing truth claims by the use of logic. The atheist bromide that faith is anti ethical to logic is simply wrong. Logic is the standard we can use to sort out competing truth claims, even if they are the result of this other pole of personal existential commitment to perceived truth. How can these two co-exist without contradicting? Logic is also a personal commitment. It is an objective truth finding mechanism but we are not objective creatures. We cannot be objective. Objective truth exists "out there" but we just can't understand it exhaustively. For this reason we must hold our logical conclusions as personal existential commitments so we don't' impose them harshly upon others, but we can live by them ourselves.

Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology
. ed., Alan Richardson and John Bowden, Great Briton:Westminster Press, 1983.207

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Do We Know God is Not Evil?


I've seen atheists ask this in various forms. The most recent I've seen is "prove God isn't evil." I answered that with three arguemnts only to find the atheists pulling the old relativism thing. How do we know good and evil even exist at all they said? Well, first of all, in answering the question about "prove god is not evil," the challenge was in reference to Christian ideas. To even ask the question assumes a Christian framework. You can't say on the one hand "God might really be evil," then say "but there's no such thing as evil." That would have no meaning. God might really be this thing that has no meaning and doesn't exist? What kind of meaning does that have? One get's the feeling of being set up for a cheap trick. Like we say "ok so God is evil ni the sense that there is no such thing as evil. so what?" they say "O you admitted it, God is evil you said it ok that's the end of Christianity!" Those are two completely different questions to answer the one you must bracket the other. first I will present my arguments to prove that God is not evil, and to do that assume the Christian framework for good and evil. Then I will deal with the relativistic stuff (that there is no good or evil).

I am assuming there is such a thing as good and we all have a general idea of what that is. Now I also noted that many atheist in the discussion I allude to above (where the challenge was made "prove God is not evil") were assuming a contradiction in the Bible where on the one hand God says "love your neighbor" and on the other hand he says "slaughter the Amelekites kids." So there's the problem of a contradiction between the values God expresses and the behavior God exhibits. Thus we assume the values expressed are true values of good, and that is a meaningful term, but the question is does God seem to betray the very values that he instigates?

Before giving three positive reasons to think God can't be evil, (that is a logical impossibility) we have to deal with the seeming contradiction in the Bible. In the discussion on a certain message board aluded to above, a friend of mine who is an atheist said this:

Originally Posted by mikey_101 View Post
No genocide isn't evil, killing children and homosexuals isn't evil, eternal torture for not believing in one particular religion out of thousands isn't evil, slavery isn't evil. Actually you're right, God isn't evil because God is a reflection of OUR evil.
Those are based upon bible verses and bible verses are not creeds, they are not dictum they are not decrees. In short we don't have to bleieve them.

There is NO official Christian doctrine or document or creed or council that say "you must believe every verse in the bible." The fundies say it but they didn't exist until the 1820s. They are merely late commers in Christian history.Each one of those passages must be analogized in the original language and discussed according to the history and culture and textual evidence to show it really belongs in the Bible or not.I can tell you now there is evidence Amalekite passage is added in latter.

The text of 1 Samuel is one of the most heavily redacted in the Bible. As we will see, it's very presence in the canon has been brought into question, but the version we have is probably a corrupted second rate copy, and the LXX is closer, and Q4Sama at Qumran closer still, to the actual original.

Institutte Bibilcal Scientific Studies:

Biblical Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls and OT

"1&2 Samuel"

"For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other" (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).

Redaction of Infant Slaughtering Passage

Notes in the New Oxford Annotated Bible on 1 Sam 15:1-35

"Another story of Saul's rejection: The late source. Compare this section with 13:7-15, Samuel, not Saul is the leading figure once more."

This is the very passage in which Samuel relays God's command to wipe out the infants. So even though I still need to find more specific evidence for that very passage, there is a good chance of proving redaction. While its true that I can't produce an actual MS showing no infant slaughter command, the passage in which that command is given has been redacted. The odds are very high that this command was not part of the original passage, or we can regard it as such. We know that slaughtering infants in evil, and we have no obligation to accept a command as divine that we know to be totally at odds with God's law and God's moral code.

All the other verses must be dealt with in similar fashion, one by one, and an overview entailing a theory of inspiration adopted so that one knows how to approach scripture. For an example on this one might consult my page on the nature of Biblical revelation as an example.

Now I present the three arguments that prove God is not evil:

I. Being is good.

Being is not evil. We are all part of being, we all engage in the act of being. We know from our existence that existing is good and it's not evil. There's no reason to think it is. It's hard for a lot of people to get thier minds around the idea of God as being itself. I've certainly spent a lot of time blogging about the concept. I wont go into it here. It can be found on Doxa in several pages. I'm also just finishing my second book which is on the subject. Wait a couple of years and it will be out.

*God is being itself

being is good.

therefore God must be good.

One objection to this is that some atheists tried to evoke the notion that life is not good. One cna mean this either in terms of "my individual life sux," or in terms of amorality or some form of relativism. That would be cheating the issues here becuase I explain above the original challenge assumes Christian categories of good and evil. Moreover, one can condemn the concept of life itself by one's own experiences. I can have rotten life (to some extent that's what I make it) that doesn't mean all life is rotten. There is a goodness about life itself. Here I take life as a pragmatic form of existence. Existence in and of itself is "good," if not in a moral sense (which is one confussion of the argument--the mixing of senses between moral and pragmatic) at least just in the sense of the (apparent) goodness of open ended possibility.

II. Love can't be evil.

This is one of those mysterious points that of which atheists are most incredulous. Almost every time they will say "you are logic is so bad" on this point. When pressed they never say why. they can't give me a rule of logic that's violated, nine times out of ten it's a matter of rejecting the concept of a priori. That unusually happens becuase they have self esteem problems, as atheists are known to have.

The nature of love makes it the very definition of Good. What is the nature of the good, it's what love is, being kind, being gentile, caring about others, giving to others, living for others. How do we know this? First we have to realize we are not talking about butterflies in the stomach. Many atheists try to lose the concept of love in the emotions that go with it, which they sweep away as the side effect of brain chemistry. The kind of love experienced in romance, puppy love,infatuation, lust, sexual attraction and the like is what is meant here by "love." Here I speak of agape. This is "God's love" sometimes translated "charity." Although that is not a good translation. Paul Tillich defines it as "the will t the good of the other." I think that is a most apt decryption. The Greek does imply the willingness to assign to others the human dignity due them.

It is more or less an axiomatic tenet that love is the background of the moral universe (consult Saint Augustine, and Joseph Fletcher). I am not sure it can be proved, thus making it "axiomatic." Like most axioms trying to deny it would be absurd. This is certainly true in terms of Christian theology.

1 John 4:

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Don't even think about trying to argue that "you are trying to prove the Bible by the bile." I am not trying to prove the bible I'm demonstrating the Christian categories which the original challenge assumes (so I have to go by the to answer the challenge). This is exactly what atheists would do to try and prove than an idea was Christian. If we are considering Christian ethics then we must consider that love is the background of the moral universe. Love is the basis of God's character.

That either the issue becomes redundant if we consider the relativist position (which we will soon enough) or it rebounds onto the Christian categories and becomes a matter of what we think about the Bible. With a fundamentalist view of inerrancy it's hard to see how there is not a contradiction in the categories, what God says and what God does.
Yet of course that is not the only Christian answer; there are several other views that take up different approaches to the bible that serve as alternatives.


Love is not evil

God's nature is love and God is the original source of love

therefore God is not evil.

Thus, from the perspective of the Christian categories each of the above arguemnts individually prove that God is not evil and cannot be construed as evil.

III. Evil can't be the first thing.

Evil is the absence of the good. That means there has to be a good preceding evil to be departed from to create an absence. evil is rebellion against good. Evil is rejecting the good. all of this implies good is first.God is eternal so God has to be first. A lot of people reject the categories of good and evil becasue they don't like the way they are made. One of the major issues in atheism (even though many atheists don't realize it--a psychological problem) is self rejection leads to rejection of the idea that a loving God would make me the way I am. I was an atheist I know what it is to think that way. The old cliche "God is not finished with me yet" has it's uses and this is one of them.If you don't like the way God made you it's only becuase he's not finished yet. If you rebel against God you are not letting him finish you.

That means there has to be a good preceding evil to be departed from to create an absence.

Actual Atheist Objection:
"That doesn't follow. A hole is an absence of earth, the existence of a hole doesn't imply there was earth. Counter example to your premise." I this I argued "are you kidding? Isn't a hole defined by what's around it? That's like saying "I don't believe donuts exist, only the holes exist." A hole with nothing around it is nothing.


evil is falling away from, therefore, good is prior to evil

God is eternal and thus is prior to all things

therefore, God can't be evil.

Now we come to the issue of relativism. For those who do not hold to the Christian categories of good and evil but try to define them either by sweeping them away, or by using the terms relative to other standards, how does one come to ascertain the truth content of the Christian categories? The only way one can really do this is empirically. Of course this assumes there's a god. Though many atheists will try not allow such an assumption, it's pointless to ask about God's character if you don't assume there is a God, at least for the sake of argument. I have certainly spent enough time on this blog giving reason enough why one can assume God based upon any number of things. For those tempted to make comments and demand reasons I tell you now, see my 42 arguments, especially no 7 and no 8. I single out those two becasue they form the basis of the empirical approach. One might also see my essay on phenomenology and Method.

Certainly we are talking about taking religious experience seriously. The same reasoning that would allow one to understand God as reality would also allow one to understand God's character as love. It makes no sens to take up a challenge or to even issue one about God's goodness then turn around and say "you can't prove that becuase you can't prove god exists." Ok so that what sense would it make to argue "god is fictional but he's really evil?" The realization that leads to faith is the same realiation that allows us to understand God's love. It's simply an empirical matter. We experince God's presence, swe sesne God's love. In a life of 30+
years that has never been disproved. Even in times when I lost faith and thought God was disproved, even in times when I lost everything and thought God was evil, he was neither evil, or absent nor unfaithful. (see part 2 here).

excerpt from those last two links:

Looking back on it things actually were better after we left the house. At the time, however, we couldn't see that. Then it seemed like the end. We were scared, we were homeless, we couldn't find an apartment because we had "financial leper" on our credit. Since 9/11 getting an apartment in Dallas was next to impossible. When I first moved away form my parents and went to New Mexico back in 80, no one cared who I was or what my credit was. I gave them money they gave me an apartment. By 2006, however, in Dallas, it was next to impossible even if your credit was good. It really seemed like the end. I began saying "I am dead, I died, they just haven't told the corpse to lay down yet." I also began to say "God has cursed me." "God loves to crush his own guys, this is what I get for caring about my parents." You know I was practicing for the glee club. I was a tower of faith. We did find an apartment, we had a couple of thousand dollars from the guy who bought the house (because he was a Christian he said) even though the mortgage company actually makes them promise not to help the victim, not to give more than the mortgage price in a short sale. It's set up so the the victim losing the house can't get anything for his/her hard earned ears of struggle to buy the house. He bought the furniture and car and then let us keep them.
God was faithful to me even when I was not faithful to him. I was calling him a lair and shouting at him and I said worse than that. I called him a monster and told him he loved to hurt people. He didn't care, he's heard it all. I didn't shame God into helping me, he was working to help me anyway, I only held up the process and made it take longer by not trusting and not looking to seek the spiritual instead of freaking out because things didn't look good. Easy to forget, we walk by faith and not by sight. That means its' going to look grim. That doesn't mean anything you just have to trust God. Cultivate your spiritual relationship with God. Cultivate our inner life! It's a life long project, work on it every day.

That requires a life of faith to understand. The first step is to seek. Then it will fall into place. It wont fall into place when you renounce God and make skepticism your watchword. If your principle is to see through everyging, as C.S. Lewis said, you wind seeing nothing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Causality in MIracle Hunting.


In the discussions of miracles several atheists have made some big misconceptions.

(1) mistaken assumptions about my knowledge of correlation and cause.

some assume that since they are clever enough to know the very basic information, the difference in correlation and causality, that I must not know that because I'm a Christian and Christians are stupid, and they are so very clever to know some basic fact that all high school kids should get, correlation is not causality.

But what they don't get is that just as I argue inductively that correlation is indicative of a cause if certain conditions obtain, that doesn't mean I don't know the difference.

(2) Correlation is indicative of Cause.

What these very clever atheists don't get is that correlation is indicative of cause. part of the problem is that certain people don't seem know what indicative means. Be that as it may, there is an epistemological gap in our knowledge it is a problem at the most fundamental philosophical level. We can only establish causality in one way, buy making very tight correlations and eliminating alternate causes. This is the only way there is, and that's what Hume really proved with the billiard balls.

Science can't prove causes. We can only prove correlations. When I assume causes on miracles, it's the only way we ever establish cause. Hans (HRG the atheist guru on CARM) says "only if we eliminate the alternate causes." Yes, that's true, but it also leads to recursion of the original problem. Because if we can't observe causality and it must be inferred from correlation, then you can't say "I have eliminated an alternate cause by showing causality and eliminating it." That's just a repeat of the same problem. The alternate causes are only possibilities, they are not proven either. What it boils down to is in the final analysis a really tight correlation is the only way to determine cause. Although it is important to eliminate the alternative possible causes, essential in fact. What this means is I am right to assume causes from correlations, given that I can eliminate alternatives, and I usually can. There is also the need to show a mechanism. Yet causes have been inferred without knowing mechanisms, as with smoking = cancer, but mechanism is also inferred from correlations. That is what we always come back to.

All of this means that medical evidence showing the disease went away, when examined by scientific medicos is good evidence for miracles. It's not absolute, there is no absolute. There will always be a gap in our epistemology. We will always have to make epistemic judgment.

(3) Don't need to show hit rate

The argument is made we must show the percentage of those healed vs not healed.

That's ridiculous. The reason is because we do not know the reason when someone is not healed. We cannot assume "O not being healed means there's no God, because some are healed." Knowing the hit rate is important in many cases. such as prophesy, "so and so is a true prophet he predicted x," but how many predictions did the make that did not come true?

Knowing the hist rate is not true in terms of empirical evidence of healing because:

(a) We don't know if the not healing is the result of no God, or God just didn't want to heal. Because a will is on the other end of the prayer we cannot treat it like a natural process and expect it to behave like a drug in a field trial.

(b) Miracles are supposed to be impossible. they violate natural law. that's the whole theory of naturalism in a nut shell; nothing happens apart form natural law.

Thus if one miracle happens that proves miracles and all it takes is one. proving that x% are not healed doesn't prove anything. miracles are supposed to be impossible and can't happen, if one of them happens, or we can assume it happened, then that proves they do happen. We don't know the rate because God is not a drug. Divine healing is a matter of God's will.

(3) God's action in healing is not indicative of God's feelings about those healed or not healed.

This is the whole fallacy of the God hates amputees thing. You might as well say God hates breakfast because not once in my Christian walk has God ever made me scrambled eggs in the morning.

St. Augustine proved that there is no correlation between worldly prosperity or success and God's love. Rome was sacked by the vandals and everyone was saying "this disproves Christianity." but Augie said "no it doesn't, divine favor is not based worldly success. Stuff happens to Christians too, God causes it rain on the just and unjust."

(4) No double blind

Lourdes evidence does not need to be double blind First of all these are not "studies." They are not set up as a longitudinal study to see if healing works. These are real people and their journey to Lourdes is part of their journey in life in a search to be healed, they are not white lab mice plotting world conquest.

Secondly, double blind is used as a means of control so we know data is not contaminated by the subjects knowledge of the test. People suffering from an incurable disease cannot cure themselves. So it doesn't matter if they know. If the data shows the condition went away immediately and it can be documented that all traces are gone, the of course can assume healing, provided there is no counter cause such as he took a wonder drug before he left for Lourdes; they do certainly screen for that.

Of course there are still epistemological problems. There will always be such problems. That's why you can't prove you exist. But just as the answer to that problem is "Make epistemic judgment based upon regularity and inconsistency of data," so it goes with miracles, proving smoking causes cancer or anything else.

Thomas Reid got it right, we are justified in assuming empirical evidence provided it's strong evidence.

One more problem. When I say "correlation" this invites the question "how can you find a correlation if you don't know the hit rate? A correlation implies X and Y are seen together a lot, not just in one instance. But we can't go around giving people cancer and praying for them over and over to see if they ar always healed. We have to let multiple cases stand for correlation. But since we can't say why healing didn't take place we have to use empirical means to assert on a case by case basis.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Atheist Circular Reasoning in Naturlaistic Deniel of Miracles


The circular reasoning to which I refer is the assertion athesits make that based upon the past inability to prove miracles that miracles have never happened before, thus this presumption counts against current evidence of miracles. The problem with that is past denials are not based upon lack of evidence but upon dismissing the evidence out of hand. Then a long string of denial has built up over the years as case after case is passed off for no good reason, the alleged lack of evidence is assume to be based upon a real lack which is not true. The proof is in the fact that modern cases have good evidence to support them.

I used four examples of modern cases of resurrection, one being my own father who was clinically dead for 11 minutes before being revived. The real "miracle" (according to his own doctor) was not so much revival (although that is amazing but not unknown) the real issue was an 89 year old man who had suffered three massive heart attacks in one day bounding back with a strong rhythmical heart beat. He said "I have never used the term 'miracle' in my pactice before, but this has to be a miracle."

Of course the skeptics who weren't even there and didn't talk to the Doctor always claim that he didn't mean, or he's a bad doctor and so on.

Atheists never deal with the evidence for the res. That evidence is historical data which set up the circumstances such that one can argue that the resurrection is the most logical solution to explain the data.

Rather than deal with that atheists always go for the philosophical level of asserting the impossibility of resurrection based upon the normal in human observation.

There are three things that are logically wrong with this approach.

(1) It's a bait and switch.

The Christian concept is that God intervened to do something beyond the norm. So atheists come back and say "this is not the norm." Well so what? It's not supposed to be the norm it's a break from the norm. They get everyone to worrying about "no ever raises from the dead." No they don't that's why it's amazing.

they issuing red herrings and taking us off the trail by hysteria and hyperbolic versions of the same argument. It's just a red herring nonetheless because the whole point of the even is that it doesn't happen. God did the impossible.

(2) Their notion of natural law is so weak and un-law like that it doesn't amount to a reason to doubt miracles.

They believe in descriptive natural law. I'm going to call "natural suggestion" becuase it's not a law at all. So they want us to think "this can't happen" but there is no reason why it can't. The only argument is about "we don't ever see it happen."

in fact you shouldn't because God did something amazing with Christ not something in the norm. But that's no physical law to prevent miracles because there is only natural suggestion not natural law.

(3) Because descriptive natural suggestion is based upon our concepts of the universe it can be wrong.

What they replace natural law with is description based upon our observation. We have no other set of observation to go by. Our observations are so very limited. We allow tons of things to fall through the cracks.

Hey by their very reckoning life itself, the existence of the earth, the place earth occupies in the solar system that allows life to flourish, the fact that the universe can bear life, all of that represents thing that falll through the cracks, things that happened despite overwhelming odds against it.

(a) The fact that some report resurrections shows us that resurrections may fall through cracks.

In other words, our observations are not complete, so there may be resurrections. In such are reported. they dismiss them because they are part of their descriptions, but their descriptions are based upon such a limited sample.

I've known four people who were dead then were alive again:

a1. My father, dead for 11 minutes, doctor said it was a "miracle"

a2. Dr. Richard Ebby whom I met and I felt such a strong presence of God anointing him I think he was speaking the truth.

a3. a Russian guy named Grigorievich Rodonai who I was introduced by by my professor t Perkins. He has been shot by the KGB and was pronounced dead and lay in the morgue for 3 days.

I can't vouch for this one but it is a claim:

Just remember that's in the media.

(b) Other miracles

the fact of other miracles should be evidence enough. No miracle should be possible if resurrection isn't possible. If some aspect of the physical universe is such that "laws" can't be violated nothing should be able to violate them.

illness doesn't just heal overnight, lungs don't just grow back over night that these are observed is a good indication that our observations are limited.

b1. Casdropugh miracles

Study: The Miracles: A Doctor says "Yes"
by Richard H. Casdorph.(Logos International, 1976)

Richard H. Casdroph collected medical evidence, x-rays, angeograms, and other data from 10 cases associated with the Kathryn Kulhman ministry. Now it will of course strike skeptics as laughable to document miracles of a faith healer. Ordinarily I myself tend to be highly skeptical of any televangelists. I am sitll skpeptical of Kulhman because of her highly theatrical manner. But I always had the impression that there was actual documentation of her miralces, and I guess that impression was created by the Casdorph book.

The Casdroph book goes into great deatail on every case. Since these were not the acutal patients of Casdroph himself, there are 3 tiers of medical data and opinion; Casdroph himself and his evaluation of the data, several doctors whith whom he consluted on every case, and they very from case to case, and the original doctros of the patents themselves. The patients gave their permission and were happy to provide the medical data on their healings since they were all people who had written to the Kulhman ministry with words of their healings. Not all of them were healed immediately in the meeting. Some were healed latter when they got hom.Naturally no one had a x-ray machine standing by at the faith meeting to crank out results like a x-rox copy, so all of them took some period of time to see the results. Not all of them were toally healed immediately. But all the cases were either terminal or incurrable and all of them, within a year, returned to full health and pain free existences.

Dr. Richard Steiner, of the American Board of Pathology, head of department of Pathology Long Beach Community Hosptial reviwed several of the slides. William Olson, American Board of Internal Medicine and head of Isatope Department at Long Beach Community Hospital, and several radiologists form that Hospital also consulted on the rest of the cases.

1)Reticulum cell Sarcoma, right pelvic bone.
2)Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis with Severe Disability
3)Malignat Brain Tumor (Glioma) of the left Temoperal lobe
4)Multiple Sclorosis
5)Arterioscloratic Heart Disease
6)Carcinoma of the Kidney (Hypernephroma)
7) Mixted Rhumatoid Arthritis with Osteoarthritis
8)Probable Brain Tumor vs Infarction of the Brain
9)Massive GI Hemorrhage with GI shock (instantly healed)
10)Ostioprosis of the Etire Spine

All of these people were totally healed of incurrable or terminal states. The one commonality they all have is that they were at some point prayed for by the same person, Kulhman. Let's look at a few examples:

1)Lisa Larios: Cell Sarcoma of the right Pevic bone.

Larios didn't know she had cancer. She had developed a great deal of pain in her pevis and was confined to a wheel chair, but the doctors had not found the evidence of the tumor at the time her mother took her to hear Kulhman. Yet, when Miss Kulhman said "someone over here is being healed of cancer, pelase stand up" she stood up wihtout knowing why. She had already started feeling a strange heat in that area and had ceased to feel pain. She went up onto the stage and walked around without pain. She was than "slain in the spirit" which is that odd thing when the healer palces his/her hand on the forehead and the person falls over in a faint. It took some time to recieve the next set of xrays becasue she only learned after the meeting some days latter that she had cancer. Than the next set of xrays showed vast and daramtic improvement. It would still be some time,almost a year, before her pelivis was completely resorted. But she did return to full health. The Catholics wouldn't except this miracle because it could be confussed with a normal remission. The power of suggestion can be ruled out because the heat started before she was called to the stage, and because she didn't even know she had cancer, but responded to a call for healing of cancer. The first dramatic improvement which was immeidate within a few days, and walking on the stage is not characteristic of remission. Casdroph has the medical evidence from several hospitals to which she had been taken.

3)Mrs. Marie Rosenberger: Milignant Brain Tumor.

"Three things make this case an exceptionally excelent example of divine healing. 1) medical evidence of the case includes biopsy proof of the milignant nature of the tumor. The slides were obtained from Hollywood community Hospital and reviewed by the head pathologist at Long Beach community Hostpital who confirmed the diagnosis of milignant astrocytoma or glioma class II. 2) When the healing occurred Marie Rosenberger was down to 101 pounds and was expected to die."

The healing began to manifest immediately and by the next moring was evident. She recieved no futher drugs or medication from that point on. 3) The third thing that makes the case good is the long term nature of the healing. Her diagnosis was in 1970 and by the time Casdroph wrote the book in 76 she was still healthy and happy with no sign of the disease since the healing (which was in 1971 one year after the diagnosis).

b2. Lourdes



The paradox of human miracle assessment is that the only way to discern whether a phenomenon is supernatural is by having trained rationalists testify that it outstrips their training. Since most wonders admitted by the modern church are medical cures, it consults with doctors. Di Ruberto has access to a pool of 60 - "We've got all the medical branches covered," says his colleague, Dr. Ennio Ensoli - and assigns each purported miracle to two specialists on the vanquished ailment.

They apply criteria established in the 1700s by Pope Benedict XIV: among them, that the disease was serious; that there was objective proof of its existence; that other treatments failed; and that the cure was rapid and lasting. Any one can be a stumbling block. Pain, explains Ensoli, means little: "Someone might say he feels bad, but how do you measure that?" Leukemia remissions are not considered until they have lasted a decade. A cure attributable to human effort, however prayed for, is insufficient. "Sometimes we have cases that you could call exceptional, but that's not enough." says Ensoli. "Exceptional doesn't mean inexplicable."

"Inexplicable," or inspiegabile, is the happy label that Di Ruberto, the doctors and several other clerics in the Vatican's "medical conference" give to a case if it survives their scrutiny. It then passes to a panel of theologians, who must determine whether the inexplicable resulted from prayer. If so, the miracle is usually approved by a caucus of Cardinals and the Pope.

Some find the process all too rigorous. Says Father Paolino Rossi, whose job, in effect, is lobbying for would-be saints from his own Capuchin order: "It's pretty disappointing when you work for years and years and then see the miracle get rejected." But others suggest it could be stricter still.

There is another major miracle-validating body in the Catholic world: the International Medical Committee for the shrine at Lourdes. Since miracles at Lourdes are all ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is not caught up in the saint-making process, which some believe the Pope has running overtime. Roger Pilon, the head of Lourdes' committee, notes that he and his colleagues have not approved a miracle since 1989, while the Vatican recommended 12 in 1994 alone. "Are we too severe?" he wonders out loud. "Are they really using the same criteria?"

The Marian Library Newsletter

No. 38 (New Series)
Summer, 1999

Marian Library (Ibid.)

"In the last one hundred years, over 6,500 individuals have reported cures to the Medical Bureau. Of these, at least 2,500 cases are considered truly remarkable, but they lack some requirement needed to allow them to advance to the next stage--witnesses, evidence, lack of agreement on the nature of the ailment. In the last twenty years, there have been reports of about twenty cases of extraordinary cures or healings, about one a year. Mr. Bély's healing is the 66th cure occurring at Lourdes which has been officially recognized by ecclesiastical authorities. The recognition by church authorities has been a feature of Lourdes for a total of sixty- three years of its history."

b3. Charles Anne's Lungs

Society for the Little Flower (Website) FAQ (visited 6/3/01)
St. Theresse of Lisieux

"Regarding St. Therese, in 1923 the Church approved of two spontaneous cures unexplained by medical treatment. Sister Louise of St. Germain was cured of the stomach ulcers she had between 1913 and 1916. The second cure involved Charles Anne, a 23 year old seminarian who was dying from advanced pulmonary tuberculosis. The night he thought he was dying, Charles prayed to Therese. Afterward, the examining doctor testified, "The destroyed and ravaged lungs had been replaced by new lungs, carrying out their normal functions and about to revive the entire organism. A slight emaciation persists, which will disappear within a few days under a regularly assimilated diet." These two miracles resulted in Therese becoming beatified."

C. Atheist argument based upon circular reasoning.

Circular reasonnig masquerading as scinece. It says

*we refuse to accept accounts of miracles because we don't see them
*therefore we have no evidence of miracles
*therefore miracles don't happen.

then any new evidence brought in they just evoke the circular of reasoning. all those past accounts were dismissed becasue we don't observes ourselves, so this can't evidence fo miracle because they don't happen.

therefore there is no evidence. The truth is there's a ton of evidence they just pass on it because they don't want it to be true.

as long as their notion of physical law is descriptive and as long they are not omniscient they can never guarantee that their observations are 100% accurate. miracle can fall between the cracks.

so some comments by atheists to this very post:
these are real comments by actual atheists.

Especially since no Lourdes study ever counted the unexplained remissions elsewhere.

they don't have to. that's the advantage of going case by case. It's not a field trial for a drug. tis' a will that decided on a case by case basis. the fact there may not be many doesn't prove anything. Moreover the rules are designed to screen out remission. they do that by not taking cases with high remission rates.

It's rather pathetic that you actually believe it.
Tyrrho 2:

Okay, so since you seem to be taking this Russian guy at his word that he was dead for three days, how does he know that he was really dead?
(because he woke up in the morgue)

Tyrrho again:

"Because there is zero evidence to back it up, rather simple concept that will be lost on you. "

this is just gain saying the evidence. there is clearly evidence in the post above.


Really? Where is the research that eliminates any natural causation? Do they have a peer reviewed science journal where that research is published?
listed above in the post. See how their basic argument is "we ignored this in the past so therefore we ignore it again?"


I really don't give a crap if you think it is evidence or not because you have shown us time and again that not only do you have pathetically low criteria for evidence you would not know the what actual evidence is if it jumped up and bit you. You have never once presented evidence all you do is present the same tired nonsense that you think is evidence ie; personal opinion that no one in their right mind would accept as such. I also have to add that anything from your DOXA website is worthless drivel.
(1) his assertion that I've shown 'time and time again' that I have a low standard for evidence is of course based upon other times when he refused to read the material and made gainsaying his answer instead of understand what I said. this is gold! he's doing exactly what I said they would do. He's using the circular reasoning of past incredulity to rule out current evidence.

(2) "never presented evidence all you do is present the same tired nonsense"

the tired nonsense is the evidence. I keep presenting it becuase you never answer it you just dismiss it as tired nonsense because you always have before.

you can't give me one single reason why it is.

film review:Sansho the Balif, by Kenji Mizoguchi



Kenji Mizoguchi

Mizoguchi (May 16, 1898 – August 24, 1956) is perhaps the most Japanese of Japan's great directors. Kurosawa was known for being influenced by the West, and Ozu known for being a Japanese purist mizoguchi was even more so."His films have an extraordinary force and purity. They shake and move the viewer by the power, refinement and compassion with which they confront human suffering."(Mark Le Fanu Mizoguchi and Japan, London: BFI Publishing, 2005, p.1) The story is written by Fuji Yahiro, Yoshikata Yoda.


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinuyo Tanaka Kinuyo Tanaka ...
Yoshiaki Hanayagi Yoshiaki Hanayagi ...
Kyôko Kagawa Kyôko Kagawa ...
Eitarô Shindô Eitarô Shindô ...
Sanshô dayû
Akitake Kôno Akitake Kôno ...
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu ...
Masauji Taira
Ken Mitsuda Ken Mitsuda ...
Prime Minister Fujiwara
Kazukimi Okuni Kazukimi Okuni ...
Yôko Kosono Yôko Kosono ...
Noriko Tachibana Noriko Tachibana ...
Ichirô Sugai Ichirô Sugai ...
Minister of Justice
Teruko Omi Teruko Omi ...
Masahiko Kato Masahiko Kato ...
Young Zushio
Keiko Enami Keiko Enami ...
Young Anju
Bontarô Akemi Bontarô Akemi ...

This is an extremely sad story, set in the Haien period of Japan.(794-1192) Oddly enough the Haien period is said to have been:

one of those amazing periods in Japanese history, equaled only by the later Tokugawa period in pre-modern Japan, in which an unprecedented peace and security passed over the land under the powerful rule of the Heian dynasty. Japanese culture during the Heian flourished as it never had before; such a cultural efflorescence would only occur again during the long Tokugawa peace. For this reason, Heian Japan along with Nara Japan (710-794) is called "Classical" Japan.
In the film, however, it says people weren't really human yet, they had not yet awakened to their humanity. The period is portrayed as brutal, with an economy based upon slavery. Apparently for some reason the Japanese see their own history that way. The story centers around a family whose father is appointed governor by the imperial court. He is eventually deposed and his wife and children must travel alone to join him. The father gave the son an idol of the goddess Guanyin. He tells the son that a human is not really without compassion and urges him to always show mercy. Of course the son is convinced of his father's greatness. He is eager to keep his teachings. The offer counters the abuse of military men who wish to go to war and is deposed form his office.

They journey through an area which is dangerously overrun by slavers. The mother, son (Zushiô ), daughter (Anju), and old female servant, try camping out because they can't find a place to stay. An old woman finds them and takes them in. He is only pretending to help them. She claims to have arranged their passage on a boat but when the mother gets on the boat first it leaves without the children. The children are sold into slavery on the main land and the mother on a small island off the coast.

From that point on ten years pass. The boy is now 23 and he's forgotten his father's teaching. The compound in which the brother and sister is a hell hole, it's a sweat shop ran by this old man called Sansho the Bailiff. The slaves are beaten, they work round the clock with little rest and penalty for escape is branding on the face. Zushio, now called Waka, has gained the trust fo the slavers by being willing to brand run away slaves who have been captured. Anju is appauled at her brother's attitude, she takes charge of the small goddess figure, the only keep sake of their former lives they still have. A new gril is brought to the compound and Anju is instructed to help learn her job. She finds the girl sining a song with their names in it, it talks about how life is torture and the persecution of th persona in the son is that of one betrayed an sold into slavery and separated from Zushio and Anju. Anju tries to find out who wrote the song, but the girl thinks it was a courtesan named "Nakagimi."

We are allowed to see the mother's life. She is a courtesan, who is constantly trying to run away. They cut her tendon so she can't run. Other courtesan's take her to the edge of a cliff everyday where she can hobble to the edge of the water and see the mainland, where her children are. She shouts to them across the water. She has no idea if they can hear or if they are even alive but she continues to do this just in case they get a small sound of her voice they might somehow come to her some day.

One day a woman at Sansho's compound is sick and dying. Because they trust Waka they send him to take the old woman out and dump her in the woods to die (the place is ran by Republicans). He brings his sister with him to help prepare the body for death. Another old woman is back at the fense not allowed to go with her but she shouts to the dying woman "be reincarnated in a good family! Be born to rich people in the next life." Waka has become hard and bitter. He preaches that only through serving the Bailiff and getting on his good side can one avoid being beaten and maybe gain a moment's rest. Once he's outside the compound they hear very faint voice in the distance carried across the waves, their mother's voice calling their names. The boy decides to run away. The sister gives him the idol and she stays to through them off track. They reason that two together would be caught but one by himself might make it. The plan is for him to go to the imperial temple near by and get help and find someway, perhaps through contacting the father, to come and get the daughter out and then find the mother.

Once the boy runs off and the other realize he's escaped, they say they are going to torture the sister to make her tell where she's gone. They are all running off into search parties and they leave an old woman to watch the girl. The old woman tells the girl to tie her up so she can flea and the woman wont be in trouble. The sister does this but he goes immediately to the water and drowns herself so that she can't be made to betray the brother. The search party winds up at the temple anyway, her sacrifice need not have been made. Nevertheless they don't find Zushio because the Abbot turns them away saying "this is an imperial temple and it's under the protection of the emperor and you have to right to be here, get lost," and so on. The son's plan is to go to the imperial adviser and try to illicit help. The priest is a friend of the adviser and so writes a letter beseeching the man for help for the young man.

At first Zushio is arrested and put in a sort of prison cell in a hut. He is treated harshly and they take the little idol figure. The next day, however, he's brought before the adviser who tells him that he is the one who gave the idol to the father in the first place. He knew the guy's father and admired him. His stand against the military was admirable. Even the father is not dead, the advised is determined to help. He appoints the son to his father's old post as adviser. He goes back and outlaws slavery in his Provence. He lacks the authority to confiscate slaves on private property but when Sansho's men, acting under his orders, tear down the posters proclaiming the outlawing of traffic in humans, he has a pretext and leads an army into the compound and arrests Sansho and exiles him. He is deeply saddened to learn that his sister is dead. He can't understand why she didn't have faith to wait for him. He realizes her sacrifice.

He then resigns his post because he's pursued a policy the adviser warned him against. The slave lobby was too powerful to mess with. Sansho has friends and will be back in power. At least he offers freedom to his slaves. They have a wild party in Sansho's great hall, tear the place apart and burn it down. It's hilarious to see them all getting drunk and tearing up all of the possessions of their former tormentor. Zushio offers them an opportunity to go home or stay there and work for pay. He himself leaves. He goes to find his mother on the island. He finds her sitting alone on a beach, blind, muttering to herself, singing her song about her children and how life is torture. At first she doesn't' believe it's him, she thinks it's a tormentor come to mock her. She realizes it's him when she feels the little idol of The goddess of mercy. The two of them are left there, they embrace and the son will care for the mother. The mother says he prevailed because he remembered his father's teachings.

This film is a cray against the prevailing spirit of our own age. It argues against the "look out for number one" mentality. It's not preaching, but the glimpse one get's a world totally dedicated to the worship of power and selfishness is sermon enough.